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Sudden death and Haemoproteus infection in captivity Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) from Brazil

International Journal of Avian & Wildlife Biology
Mel Takazono Lemes,1 Andriel Gustavo Felichak,1 Laura Dalcin Lorenzi,1 Marina Marangoni,2 Vitor Eduardo Mamguê,2 Paulo Henrique Braz3


The present study aims to report the sudden death of two captive individuals of the Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia that coexisted in the same enclosure with other raptor birds in a Zoo of Brazil. Despite Haemoproteus infections generally being considered benign, they can lead to sudden death, particularly in stressful environments. Through hematological examinations and microscopic analyses, this article reports two cases of Haemoproteus in Burrowing Owls, suggesting a potential correlation between its presence and owl’s deaths. Also, discusses the prevalence of this infection in captive raptorial birds, emphasizing the significance of immunity and proper management to prevent infections and reveal the importance of early diagnosis for the preservation of the health of these captive birds.


hemoparasitoses, hemosporidia, stress, wild birds, captive birds